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Your Business

News/Business. A focus on issues facing small business in the United States.

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Starbucks 9, Us 9, America 7, Nina 3, Sammy 2, Howard Schultz 2, Barry 2, Smartphone 2, American Express Open Gold Card 2, Barry Moltz 2, Angela 2, Gillian Dinnerstein 1, Sam Chernin 1, Melissa Brown 1, Angela Jia Kim 1, Dinnerstein 1, Bono 1, J.j. Ramberg 1, Nick Goldfarb 1, Africa 1,
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  MSNBC    Your Business    News/Business. A focus on issues  
   facing small business in the United States.  

    November 6, 2011
    7:30 - 7:59am EST  

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eat pair. huh? progressive and thgreat outdoors! we make a great pair. right, totally. that's what i was thinking. all kinds of vehicles, all kinds of savings. multi-policy discounts from progressive. call or click today. starbucks ceo howard schultz tells us how this bracelet is going to help fund small businesses. and why you need to start using qr codes like this one to get and retain customers. a little inspiration and innovation coming up next on "your business." small businesses are revitalizing the economy and american express open is here to help. that's why we are proud to present "your business" on
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msnbc. hi there, everyone. i'm j.j. ramberg and welcome to "your business." where we give you tips and advice to help your business grow. starbucks has launched a new initiative called create jobs for usa. the program is focused specifically on small business owners. the company's donated $5 million in seed money and it's soliciting donations from customers and employees. this will help fund small companies through a partnership with the opportunity finance network, a group of community development financial institutions that focus on underserved markets. i sat down with starbucks' ceo howard schultz to learn more about the campaign. thank you so much for joining us today. i'm so excited about this opportunity, and i can't wait for you to tell us a little bit more about this. you can see, i got my bracelet.
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>> love it. >> so tell me how you're going to be helping small businesses. and as a result, create jobs. >> well, i think before i answer that specifically, can i frame the problem for you? >> absolutely. >> it's been reported that we have 9.1% unemployment in america. that's bad enough. but the fact is, it's almost double that in the hispanic and the african-american community. in addition to that, what we've learned is that the engine for job creation in america has always been and continues to be small businesses. the problem that we have right now is that small businesses are having a very difficult time getting access to credit, because the banks are just not lending as much as they did in the past. >> that's an issue we talk about all of the time on this show. people saying, i want to grow, but i can't get the money that i need to grow. >> so the question is, how can businesses and business leaders step up, not wait for washington, and in our case, how can starbucks use its scale for good? so we came up with an idea, a simple idea.
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and that is to create a bracelet. let's call it indivisible from the pledge of allegiance, which is nonpartisan, respectful, and do something in which we put this in our stores, ask for a donation of $5 or more. we will raise millions of dollars, and immediately, after the money is raised, we will get it in the hands of the opportunity finance network, which is an organization that has microfinance loan organization and community-based organizations across the country, that will automatically provide access to credit that the banks are not doing. and in doing so, we will have a significant catalytic effect on job creation in america. >> so if i'm a small business, and i have been to a bank and i can't get money and i have no friends and family, and i'm watching this interview right now, and i say, okay, there's my money, what do i do? >> go to the community finance network. go to create jobs.org and you will see immediately an opportunity that doesn't exist. go into a starbucks store and you will get a sheet that
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explains everything, as well as the opportunity to put this bracelet on with pride and show that americans can help americans. >> what i think is interesting about this campaign is that you are, in essence, doing what, or trying to do and hopefully it works well, what bono did for the problem of hiv in africa. is make the idea of helping small businesses cool. >> sure. >> so do you think, and what are you going to do, to make sure that this becomes cool, that every person in america wants to wear one of these things as a badge of, i'm helping small business? >> well, there's millions of people every day going to a starbucks store. we will do as much as possible to create awareness, relevancy, and i think in the coming weeks you're going to see americans with this bracelet on all over the country, and i think what we want to try and do, in addition to raising money to create jobs, is we want to celebrate america. right now we have a crisis of confidence and a crisis of leadership in america. there's a hopelessness in which the american dream somehow doesn't seem as accessible as it once did to the people being left behind.
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we want to try and make a difference. the bracelet, in a way, is emblematic of that. >> and will i be able to see the small businesses that i'm helping? >> yes. there will be complete transparency on the website where the money is going. how many jobs we're creating. believe me when i tell you, this is nothing about starbucks, this is what we and other businesses can do to use our scale for good. >> just to go on the other side for a minute. a lot of bankers that i speak to on this show say, we have money that we would love to lend, but the people who are coming and asking for loans aren't fundable right now. we can't give them money, we're afraid they're not going to pay us back. >> you know, i certainly can't speak for the decisionmaking of the banks. but i can tell you that there are thousands of small businesses across america who have great entrepreneurial ideas, small and large, and for whatever reason, are not getting access to credit because of regulation, and new restrictions on how banks are making lending decisions. we're going to eradicate that.
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>> can you give me an example of some small businesses or types of businesses that are going to benefit from this? >> just in the last two days we already found out that we funded a nursing home that already did not have any access to credit, that got a loan, has hired people already. but you'll be able to see all of this with great transparency on the website. and you can learn more, because we will be handing this sheet out at starbucks that will explain the entire mechanism of where the money's going, how it's getting in the hands, and how we're making a difference. >> money is one issue. getting customers, knowing how to run your business and grow your business, is another big issue for small businesses. you have obviously been very successful. started something tiny and has grown it enormously. what advice, if all of these people that you're funding were able to sit in an audience with you, what advice would you give them? >> well, you know, i think we've been very blessed at starbucks. but there was a point in time when we were a small business. we had 11 stores and 100 employees in 1987 and a dream.
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when i speak to young people, i try and give them just a few tidbits of the things that work for us. surrounding yourself with people who are smarter and have more experience than you do. but most importantly, have like-minded values. dream big, and then dream bigger. and don't let anyone tell you that your idea, your thoughts, or your dreams cannot come true. >> well, i look forward to seeing hopefully a lot of small businesses grow, because of this effort. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> and for what you're doing. >> thank you. >> you may not know what they're called, but no doubt you've noticed the unusual square shaped bar codes popping up all over the place. consider this segment a beginner's guide to qr codes where we take a closer look at what they are and how they might be useful to your business. ♪ they are everywhere. store fronts. magazines. business cards.
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billboards, and this guy even has a tattoo with the funny shaped square bar code. >> scan like this. >> they're called qr codes, short for quick response, and they are revolutionizing the way we get information on just about anything. here's how they work. all you do is create the code, more on that later, and put it some place where your customers will see it. they, then put their smartphone over the code and scan it. a special web page featuring your unique content instantly comes up. >> the most important step for a small business is to provide a great payoff to the consumer for interacting with a qr code. so make sure you provide special content that is not accessible otherwise. whether that's a special offer. or a special video that you can't access. that really rewards the consumer for going through the exercise of actually scanning the code. >> for the small business owner, the opportunity to crack the code, and tap this new market is relatively easy.
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>> they're very inexpensive to deploy. with a number of tools available today, you can create your own qr code campaign in just a matter of minutes. >> nina recently started a campaign at garnet wines and liquors. the scores qr code offers discounts linked to their facebook and twitter pages, information about special events and sales. >> it isn't the whole website, it's just pieces of information that you can take or not. and you click on. and then you can click on there, check in, and get a discount. >> but it's not just about disseminating information. nina is gathering valuable information, too. >> what's great about qr codes is they allow you to track the effectiveness of your marketing. because it's tied to the internet, you suddenly have metrics on things that you didn't have before. if people were looking at your business card, or your bus poster, or your packaging, you
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would kn wouldn't know that that was actually occurring. with people scanning your codes you're able to measure which ones were the most effective for you. >> delving into the analytic has given nina insight far beyond any marketing at the store. >> 180 seconds. most of our visits are by iphone. >> reporter: small businesses looking to get started with qr code campaigns should remember a few key things. first, there are plenty of qr code generators available online for free. but most of the free services don't offer analytics. for a small fee, it may be worth upgrading your account to track your scans. >> qr code solutions come in many different shapes and sizes. there are the really large, expensive agencies that will deploy beautiful campaigns for you, and do them as one-off custom build deployments. and that can cost in the thousands of dollars. there are also other solutions, which charge a small monthly fee and allow you to create your own
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campaign, get all of the analytics, use a content management system to manage what you want the codes to point to. >> second, your customers will need a qr reader on their phone. be ready to help them with it. especially if they've never scanned a code before. there are plenty of free apps available out there for iphones, androids and blackberries. once they have the reader installed, they're ready to start scanning. >> and put your smartphone over it and you hear that little beep, so then it comes up with our menu. >> the next step is to create a call to action. tell people why they should scan your code. >> and she's going to give you a 10% discount. >> you don't want to make a rookie mistake of just sending a customer to your website. >> if you're passing by a neighborhood store, you may see a code on the front window that will give reviews, maybe offer coupons. it's a way of connecting instantly between print and the internet but more importantly, between the retailer to its
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consumer. >> the last step for creating a successful qr campaign is putting the codes in interesting places. nick goldfarb is a filmmaker who uses the qr codes on his business cards. >> i get a lot of wows, and that's cool, and how does it work. that's sort of exactly the reason why we went this way, was you always want to have people remember you. >> melissa brown is a real estate agent who uses them on her flyers and signs to give potential customers information on the spot. >> a little code goes directly to my website. and i have it programmed so that photos of the house, and information of the house is readily available. instantaneous. >> david, who's in a band, wanted a faster way to market his music. >> wlefr we go to shows i'm always getting asked, have you got this, have you got that? take out your phone, scan it. it's the app for it. it takes two seconds. >> qr codes really represent the shortest distance between curiosity and content. it's simply easier to whoever your phone over a code than it
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is to thumb-type in a url. >> want more information about qr codes? scan our special "your business" code to learn more. so, how important is it for your business to jump on that qr code bandwagon? well, we want to show you our qr code once again. just go ahead, scan that code on the screen, and you'll find a special video with more details about qr codes, and you'll also be taken to the "your business" facebook and twitter pages. go ahead, scan it right now. now let's turn to this week's board of directors to talk to them a little bit more about these qr codes, angela jia kim is the founder of savorthesuccess.com, a business network for free mail entrepreneurs and barry moltz is a small business consultant. you can't find them at barrymoltz.com. we took our own advice which is we didn't just sent people to
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our website, i think that's what you take away from this piece is if you're going to do it, don't be lazy about it. >> right. go all the way. my issue only, and it's so cool, and it's another layer of almost exclusivity that clients and customers like, but i'm all for streamlining. so, this only works on a smartphone, correct? so then you're kind of cutting off a certain segment who doesn't have a smartphone. >> you know what, that is true. because i did not have fun. i'm kind of old school. >> over 50% of people in the united states have smartphones and that's it. so if they don't have a smartphone, if they don't know how to download the qr reader and don't have internet access. >> i was stwr. can you put the url underneath for those who don't have smart phones. but for those people who do have smartphones who can use this, it is, it's a really cool thing to do. and relatively easy. >> yeah, i think that what's most important in marketing these days is you've got to be shareable. the qr code allow you to be shareable, but as they said in the outlook, the important thing
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is not to just send them to your website. there's got to be some kind of special offer. if you don't give them some kind of special offer you're really missing an opportunity. >> right. and then especially if you're going to ruse it to replace any sort of announcement of where your website is. like you showed that qr code at the very beginning there. i mean, what if you don't have it? you don't know what your website is. and so it's important, i think, to make sure that it's accessible to all of your customers. >> i didn't know what a qr code was, and now suddenly i see them everywhere. i have gotten so many business cards with qr codes on them. >> really? >> yeah, but again i don't have a phone that can look at it. not that useful for me. >> you're in the 50%. >> thanks so much, you guys. >> are you looking to tap into the potential power of facebook to promote your company? if so, here are five facebook apps that you can use to market your business, courtesy of small business computing dotcom. poll lets you create questions and then post them on your wall. the app will track results for you, which include each voter's user i.d., name, and gender.
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if you already have a company website, i-frame apps will embed your site directly onto your facebook fan page. extended info creates an additional info tab with more details, customizable information about your business. you can also add videos, images, and music to the page. the work for us app lets you post job openings and receive applications through your facebook page. and finally, you can sell products directly on your facebook page using social ecart. you can create a new online store, or if you already have one, link to your online shop directly. when we come back, we'll answer your business questions about key words for search engine optimization and finding developers for a start-up. and today's elevator pitcher saw the light for those of us who have trouble reading menus in those romantic but dimly lit bistros. shazi: seven years ago, i had this idea.
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to make baby food the way moms would. happybaby strives to make the best organic baby food. in a business like ours, personal connections are so important. we use our american express open gold card to further those connections. last year we took dozens of trips using membership rewards points to meet with farmers that grow our sweet potatoes and merchants that sell our product. vo: get the card built for business spending. call 1-800-now-open to find out how the gold card can serve your business. who you ever tried to read a restaurant menu by the light of that small candle on your table? it can be tough. but today's elevator pitcher
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came up with a solution to save your eyesight and your appetite. hi, good morning. >> good morning. gillian dinnerstein. >> good morning. barry moltz, nice to meet you. >> gillian dinnerstein. as j.j. said, most of us have experienced in low-lit venues difficulty reading a menu or the check. dine alight is a simple, rechargeable l.e.d. product which is the only application able to illuminate multiple pages. it's the universal module which is secure, and actually unlocks with our little key. and fits into our charger. and charges about every two to four months. the market with over 1 million u.s. full-service restaurants and bars alone is obviously wide open and then we are endorsed by the largest wine and spirits distributor in the united states.
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>> gillian, how much money are you looking for? >> i'm looking more for an experience to take our patented, international patents globally and help with licensing and distribution. >> so you're looking for a partner? >> i'm looking for a partner to share in the very endless potential of this product. >> okay. >> it has no language, and -- >> well, let's see what these guys think. you got to hear angela. you've been sitting in that space a lot of times. how did you think she did in the pitch. >> i thought it was great. you're very elegant. i want you to get more grounded and really speak from your passion point of why this is such an amazing, you know, product. rather than trying to get the words right. it's more like a conversation. you know, more casual conversation. and the other thing i would love to know, and i feel like a broken record because i feel like i say this all the time is i'm really interested in knowing what your sales are going to look like. what the interest is. and, so, that's my piece of advice. >> barry, what do you think she
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needs to include in the pitch? >> gillian, i think you need to understand people, what they really do is they buy when they're in pain and they have money to solve the pain. you have to decide who has the pain here. certainly the diner has the pain or they can't see the menu or the see who has the pain, and certainly does the restaurant owner really have the pain, and are they uncomfortable with the server having a conversation, or it's an elegant solution but you have to make sure that that you are selling to the person with the pain. >> yes, this is solving the problem, so solve it for the person you are selling it to. >> would you take another meeting? >> not at this point. i think the menu is interesting. you were saying that you actually designed the menus in with the light in it. i would like to see more
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direction. >> barry? >> no, not at this point. most small businesses is all about distribution. the restaurant industry is fragmented. can you get on with a food supply company. >> i think -- sorry to cut you off again because we're limited. but you have a great thing to put in the beginning to show we're successful, and we're going to get a partner and make it more successful. thank you so much. i know you have so much more to say. >> it's a cool product. thank you guys so much for everything today. appreciate it. if any of you have a product or service and you want feedback from our elevator pitch panel on your chances of getting interested investors, all you have to do is send us an e-mail. yourbusiness@msnbc.com. tell us how much money you want to raise and what you intent to
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do with the money, and you never know, somebody out there may be interested in helping you. now, the first question is about search engine optimaization? >> how do i find the key words to search for on google to put on my website? >> this is a million dollar question. >> do you hire somebody? >> i did. there are a few things you can do right away. we always talk about a blog, but pepper your blog with good content, and making sure you use the friendly words, and making sure that your erl has those words in there. >> this gentleman is part of miami executive coach and he will never own the word coach, and he will not be able to compete, and you put quote coac he will gets millions and
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millions of people. it's proven that there's much closer to a buying he decision than just putting coach in. >> how would you go about finding developers to bring on to a text start up? where would you look to find the people that would be a good fit to bring on to your team? >> i have gotten this question from a lot of friends recently. where do you go? >> well, i think that we have to understand for a small business owner, we have to keep their resources in a variable, right. and we moved towards the thing called an online contingency workforce, where people are going online to find a specific person with the specific skill for a certain period of time, and then they use that person. that's how people are building teams remotely, and not a full time employee all in one place. >> my husband is a web developer and i asked him this question,
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and how would somebody find somebody good, and he said it's all word of mouth. you have to get in there and use your connections. he said go geek conferences, he said. if it's social media, go to facebook or twitter conference, and then be prepared to pay well, because they are few and far between, and good ones ared. treat them like investors, because they want to be excited about your project. >> if you don't have a ton of money, and there are a loft people out there that are developers, and that's when you go to e-lance or something like that. >> you can try and get college, and it can pay off in the long run. >> maybe that's a way to get started if you don't have a lot
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of money. and this is from juan. i hear a lot about the cloud. should i be doing all of my computing in the cloud? >> this takes me back to 30 years ago with time-sharing days. now, you don't have to make big investments, and you don't have to pay a lot of money up front for software, and can you play for the applications you want. and we are a mobile society, so you can get to the applications anywhere you are on the road. >> as a small business owner, i love things like g mail, something so simple and free. you have no idea what we are able to accomplish with just the calendar alone. it's amazing what you can do now and be mobile. >> so you guys are big fans of putting everything in the cloud? >> yes. >> and for people who are scared
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that something might happen, it could happen to your hard drive? >> yeah, and my hard drive, the cloud is -- >> when you put everything up there, or everything is in the cloud? >> well, i use a service called carbonite, and they back it up in the cloud every single day. >> so you are not working in the cloud. you have it on your hard drive, and it backed it up. >> well, i am using various google docks, and drop box is huge because you can really share documents. it's perfect for collaboration. >> yeah, i love that. i use the cloud all the time. >> that was all very good advice. >> we appreciate it. >> and if any of you have a question for our experts, go to the website, the address is open forum.com/yourbusiness. again, the website is open
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forum.c forum.com/yourbusiness. angela and barry had helpful advice about how to improve your business. now let's get great ideas from small business owners like you. >> i think the biggest thing i have learned over the last year is you cannot do it alone and your staff is incredibly important as well as the people you align yourself with. you can become bigger but along the way help other people in using their services. >> you need to implement a good social media strategy, whether it's a small one or 15-minute a day one, or you consider this a job function. you need to use social media or you will be left behind. >> you will get inundated with a lot of different things to do as you grow your business.
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it's important to identify what not to do. a lot of times i list things not to do and so we can triage that and focus on the important things, because you can be spread all over the place. do you want to take your online marketing messages to the next level? check out our website of the week. aweber.com is a marketing tool that can turn it into automatic e-mail to subscribers. it costs about $19 a month. to learn more about today's show, just click on our website, it's openforum.com/your business. you will find all of today's segments with web exclusive information to help your business grow. we love getting your feedback on facebook and twitter.
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next week, landing a deal with a major retailer isn't easy. it's a process that takes plenty of time and money. >> a lot of people believe you get into 8,000 stores and you get mully million orders, and you are made and you are done. unfortunately in those first years you are putting that money all back in. >> find out how a business got its products off the shelves. until then, i am j.j. ram burg, and remember, we make your business our business. sam: i'm sam chernin. owner of sammy's fish box. i opened the first sammy's back in 1966. my employees are like family. and, i want people that work for me to feel that they're sharing in my success. we purchase as much as we can on the american express open gold card.

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